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Record #: R2014-448   
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Intro date: 6/25/2014 Current Controlling Legislative Body: Committee on Housing and Real Estate
Final action: 7/30/2014
Title: Call for Cook County Recorder of Deeds to require additional proof of identification for individuals presenting documents for recording
Sponsors: O'Connor, Patrick, O'Shea, Matthew J., Cullerton, Timothy M., Suarez, Regner Ray, Reboyras, Ariel, Lane, Lona, Pope, John, Dowell, Pat
Attachments: 1. R2014-448.pdf
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City Council June 25,2014

WHEREAS, The FBI reports that recording of fraudulent documents is an increasing form of white-collar crime nationwide. Cases have been documented in New York, California, and everywhere in between, including Chicago; and

WHEREAS, Criminals have recorded fraudulent liens against homes in order to harass enemies or to extort money from homeowners intimidated by the legal hurdles involved in clearing title; and

WHEREAS, Criminals have recorded fraudulent deeds making it falsely appear that they are the owners of homes. The "House Thieves" have then taken out mortgages on the homes, or even sold the homes. In some cases, the criminals have gone so far as to change the locks when the legitimate homeowner is away from home, brazenly showing the forged documents to police as proof of their right to do so; and

WHEREAS, Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen A. Yarbrough has been a leader in the fight against "House Stealing" and other crimes involving fraudulent document recording. She widened the use ofthe "Fraud Alert" system, whereby homeowners are notified of any document recorded against their property. She successfully advocated for the passage of laws that allow a Recorder of Deeds to forward cases of suspected property fraud to an expedited administrative law review process, to increase the penalties for unlawful clouding of a title, and to require notaries to forward the records of every property transfer they notarize to the Recorder of Deeds office. She has also worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the crime; and

WHEREAS, Despite Recorder Yarbrough's efforts, Illinois law requires Recorders of Deeds to record any document presented to them with the needed information and fees. Recorders are forbidden to investigate the authenticity of documents before recording; and

WHEREAS, House Thieves typically hide their true identities behind aliases and sham corporations; and

WHEREAS, Time is of the essence in...

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